Refreshing dynamic layers automatically

Some layers in your web map may be dynamic, meaning they are being updated at regular intervals. For example, a GeoRSS feed, earth observations from the Living Atlas, or a feature service being updated by workers performing edits while in the field.

When the map containing these layers is redrawn, these data refresh. By setting the refresh interval property on these layers, you can force an automatic refresh at a specific time interval. These refreshes occur even while the map is open and idle, and will synchronize the map anywhere it is accessed – via browsers, desktops, and devices.

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Example: Weather watches, warnings, and advisories

Weather watches, warnings, and advisories is one of the curated earth observation layers available in the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World. To add the layer to your map, click Add then choose Browse Living Atlas Layers.

Searching for “weather” we can find the USA Weather Warnings live feed from the Living Atlas, and add it to our map as a layer.

Viewing the item details we learn that the service is checked for updates every 5 minutes. To set the layer refresh to match the update interval, open the layer options:

Click Refresh Interval, and enter the number of minutes after which an automatic refresh will be triggered. Make sure the refresh box is checked, and enter the desired interval (in this case 5 minutes). The interval must be expressed in minutes, but can be in the range 0.1 (6 seconds) to 1440 (1 day).

The layer properties are saved with the map, and the layer will automatically refresh at the specified interval when viewed, even if the map is left idle.

View a sample web map using refresh intervals. The web map has two layers (USGS earthquakes past hour and past day) that update every 5 minutes. Update intervals can be different from layer to layer.

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More information

For more information see:

This post was originally published on September 25, 2013, and has been updated.

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6 Comments

  1. ghoeppner says:

    Cute. Now how do I symbolize and label them based on magnitude, using this element in the GeoRSS?

    • ghoeppner says:

      OK. The element values get scrubbed out in the comments. Here they are without the brackets, maybe this will work.
      category label=”Magnitude” term=”Magnitude 1″

    • Bern Szukalski says:

      You can’t – the symbols are built into the GeoRSS feed itself. If you want to symbolize based on magnitude download and use the CSV provided by USGS. If you add the CSV from it’s URL location it will update every time the map is opened or refreshed (the refresh property is not yet implemented for CSVs, but will be).

      • ghoeppner says:

        Thanks. Good to know the CSV will have a refresh property. Unfortunately I since learned my employer won’t let anyone use ArcGIS online (the ‘cloud’ isn’t allowed), so it’s all moot.

      • jdonoghue2 says:

        Symbolization of the CSV works well – as you’ve described, but what about labeling a dynamic layer? There doesn’t seem to be any labeling options at all in AGO. Am I missing something?

        • Bern Szukalski says:

          With the map viewer there is currently no support for dynamic labeling or hover text. Labels are typically burned-in to the tile services, and other information can be retrieved with a click to reveal the pop-up. This is on the list to add in a future release, however you can use other apps and APIs to support labels and hover text, just not in the javascript viewer… yet.